Thursday, December 22, 2016

The Top 100 Songs of the Pre-Rock Era (1890-1953)

cover for Top 100 Songs of the Pre-Rock Era book

This is a companion book to The Top 100 Songs of the Rock Era, 1954-1999, available at as a standard book or ebook!

When I was in the beginning stages of The Top 100 Songs of the Rock Era, 1954-1999, the intent was to write a “top 100 songs of all time” book. As I quickly discovered, most lists which proclaimed to offer the best of all time are really focused on the latter half of the second century. I decided to retool my project to focus on those years with the idea that I would later roll out another book focused on the pre-rock era.

That book is still in the works, but I thought I’d roll out the list as it stands now as a teaser. As always with DMDB lists, the rankings are determined by aggregating multiple best-of lists and factoring in songs’ sales, chart stats, and awards. It should be noted that in the pre-rock era there were often multiple versions of a song. In fact, some best-of lists did not list a specific version. When the latter occurred, all versions of a song were given points. Once all points were compiled, only the top version of a song was included in this list.

The Top 100 Songs of the Pre-Rock Era (1890-1953)

1. White Christmas… Bing Crosby (1942)
2. Over the Rainbow… Judy Garland (1939)
3. Night and Day…Fred Astaire (1932)
4. Alexander’s Ragtime Band…Arthur Collins with Byron Harlan (1911)
5. In the Mood…Glenn Miller (1939)
6. Star Dust…Artie Shaw (1941)
7. Cheek to Cheek…Fred Astaire (1935)
8. St. Louis Blues…Bessie Smith with Louis Armstrong (1925)
9. My Blue Heaven…Gene Austin (1927)
10. Begin the Beguine…Artie Shaw (1938)

11. Over There…American Quartet (1917)
12. Whispering…Paul Whiteman (1920)
13. Swanee…Al Jolson (1920)
14. April Showers…Al Jolson (1922)
15. Stormy Weather (Keeps Rainin' All the Time)…Ethel Waters (1933)
16. You’re a Grand Old Flag (aka “The Grand Old Rag”)…Billy Murray (1906)
17. Let Me Call You Sweetheart…Peerless Quartet (1911)
18. All the Things You Are…Tommy Dorsey with Jack Leonard (1939)
19. The Way You Look Tonight…Fred Astaire (1936)
20. Sweet Adeline (You’re the Flower of My Heart)…Haydn Quartet (1904)

21. Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer…Gene Autry (1949)
22. Tennessee Waltz…Patti Page (1950)
23. Pennies from Heaven…Bing Crosby (1936)
24. Peg O’ My Heart…The Harmonicats (1947)
25. As Time Goes By…Dooley Wilson (1942)
26. Paper Doll…The Mills Brothers (1942)
27. Ol’ Man River…Paul Robeson (1928)
28. You Made Me Love You (I Didn't Want to Do It)…Al Jolson (1913)
29. Take Me Out to the Ball Game…Billy Murray with the Haydn Quartet (1908)
30. Body and Soul…Coleman Hawkins (1940)

31. Moonlight Bay…American Quartet (1912)
32. Dardanella…Ben Selvin (1920)
33. Meet Me in St. Louis, Louis…Billy Murray (1904)
34. Give My Regards to Broadway…Billy Murray (1905)
35. You Belong to Me…Jo Stafford (1952)
36. By the Light of the Silvery Moon…Billy Murray with Haydn Quartet (1910)
37. Ain’t Misbehavin’…Thomas “Fats” Waller (1929)
38. Goodnight Irene…The Weavers (1950)
39. Tea for Two…Marion Harris (1925)
40. A-Tisket, A-Tasket…Ella Ftizgerald with Chick Webb (1938)

41. Mood Indigo…Duke Ellington (1931)
42. The Prisoner’s Song…Vernon Dalhart (1925)
43. Riders in the Sky (A Cowboy Legend)…Vaughn Monroe (1949)
44. In the Good Old Summertime…Haydn Quartet (1903)
45. Sentimental Journey…Les Brown with Doris Day (1945)
46. I’ll Never Smile Again…Tommy Dorsey with Frank Sinatra (1940)
47. Near You…Francis Craig with Bob Lamm (1947)
48. I Can’t Give You Anything But Love…Cliff Edwards (1928)
49. Shine on, Harvest Moon…Harry MacDonough with Miss Walton (1909)
50. School Days (When We Were a Couple of Kids)…Byron Harlan (1907)

51. Chattanooga Choo Choo…Glenn Miller (1941)
52. The Christmas Song…Nat “King” Cole (1946)
53. It Had to Be You…Isham Jones (1924)
54. When You Wish Upon a Star…Cliff Edwards (1940)
55. Happy Days Are Here Again…Ben Selvin (1930)
56. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes…Paul Whiteman with Bob Lawrence (1933)
57. Tiger Rag…Original Dixieland Jazz Band (1918)
58. God Bless America…Kate Smith (1939)
59. How High the Moon…Les Paul with Mary Ford (1951)
60. Blue Moon…Glen Gray with Kenny Sargent (1935)

61. I Got Rhythm...Red Nichols (1930)
62. Mona Lisa… Nat “King” Cole (1950)
63. Buttons and Bows…Dinah Shore & Her Harper Valley Boys (1948)
64. Yankee Doodle Boy…Billy Murray (1905)
65. Till We Meet Again…Henry Burr with Albert Campbell (1919)
66. I’ll Be Seeing You…Bing Crosby (1944)
67. When Irish Eyes Are Smiling…Chauncey Olcott (1913)
68. Bill Bailey, Won’t You Please Come Home…Arthur Collins (1902)
69. It’s a Long, Long Way to Tipperary…John McCormack (1915)
70. Always…George Olsen with Fran Frey, Bob Rice, & Edward Joye (1926)

71. Deep Purple…Larry Clinton with Bea Wain (1939)
72. The Gypsy…The Ink Spots (1946)
73. Strange Fruit…Billie Holiday (1939)
74. Rock-a-Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody…Al Jolson (1918)
75. My Gal Sal…Byron Harlan (1907)
76. Swinging on a Star…Bing Crosby (1944)
77. Sonny Boy…Al Jolson (1928)
78. Wait Till the Sun Shines, Nellie…Byron Harlan (1906)
79. Ain’t We Got Fun?...Van & Schenck (1921)
80. I’ve Heard That Song Before…Harry James with Helen Forrest (1943)

81. Frenesi…Artie Shaw (1940)
82. Casey Jones… American Quartet with Billy Murray (1910)
83. On the Sunny Side of the Street…Ted Lewis (1930)
84. I’m in the Mood for Love...Little Jack Little (1935)
85. Someone to Watch Over Me...Gertrude Lawrence (1927)
86. Twelfth Street Rag...Pee Wee Hunt (1948)
87. After You’ve Gone…Marion Harris (1919)
88. Some Enchanted Evening...Perry Como (1949)
89. For Me and My Gal…Judy Garland with Gene Kelly (1942)
90. Darktown Strutters’ Ball...Arthur Collins & Byron Harlan (1918)

91. My Melancholy Baby... Gene Austin (1928)
92. Blues in the Night (My Mama Done Tol’ Me)...Woody Herman (1941)
93. I Wonder Who’s Kissing Her Now…Henry Burr (1909)
94. Silent Night…Bing Crosby (1935)
95. Put on Your Old Grey Bonnet…Haydn Quartet (1909)
96. In My Merry Oldsmobile…Billy Murray (1905)
97. Down by the Old Mill Stream…Harry MacDonough (1911)
98. Blue Skies...Ben Selvin (1927)
99. Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?...Rudy Vallee (1932)
100. Take the “A” Train…Duke Ellington (1941)

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